March 15, 2020
Dear VU Colleagues:
As the situation with the Coronavirus continues to evolve, VU’s top priority is to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty, staff, and communities, while doing our best to sustain the fulfillment of our mission.
VU is continuing to take steps in order to address the challenges brought on by the potential impact of the Coronavirus. Our hope is that these efforts will contribute to the larger public health goal of preventing or at least slowing the spread of the virus. Because the work that will be done during this extended spring break week will be critical to our success in transitioning instruction and services, it is imperative that faculty and staff report for work this week as expected, with absences only in cases of pre-approved leave and ill health.
DEALING WITH K-12 CLOSINGS
We realize that the recent announcements closing school buildings in Indiana and Illinois will create additional pressures on faculty and staff who have school-aged dependents. Even so, you should not bring your child to work with you at VU. If your child’s school is closed because of COVID-19, you can utilize combinations of the following, with supervisor approval:
• Paid leave that has been accrued (vacation or sick leave)
• Work on a flexible schedule (VU is relaxing the flex schedule policy to allow employees to make up work on an hour-for-hour basis within the same pay period)
• Unpaid leave (if necessary)
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ACCRUED PAID LEAVE
We are aware that many employees either are not eligible for accrued paid leave or have insufficient leave available to bridge a significant absence. President Trump’s recent National Emergency declaration is expected to provide resources through the states to support employees in this situation and VU is in contact with State agencies to determine if/when such resources will be made available. We hope to have additional guidance on this issue in the coming week and will share that information as it becomes available.
In the meantime, we encourage employees without sufficient accrued leave or the ability to accrue leave to work with supervisors to identify opportunities for flex schedules and other options.
SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR SUPERVISORS
Because of this unprecedented situation, we ask that you do your best to assist faculty and staff with balancing work and family responsibilities, along with health and safety needs. Human Resources is preparing resources and training guides to be used by supervisors to assist you in making decisions about requests for changes in working conditions and leave. Please look for information about those resources to be shared within the next two days.
Because guidance and conditions are changing rapidly, VU is evaluating options and resources
for employees and supervisors that could support alternative means of maintaining University
operations. Such options may include the use of telecommuting and alternative work situations
across faculty and staff. In some cases, the nature of the work itself will not support
telecommuting or alternative work environments. Please look for this guidance to be available
as soon as possible.
Thank you all VU for the work that has been done already to prepare for the impact of the
coronavirus and for the work that lies ahead. VU administration and the Coronavirus
Subcommittee are monitoring guidance from various health and government agencies and we
are prepared to change plans and approaches as needed. Please go to VU’s coronavirus web
page: https://www.vinu.edu/coronavirus-updates for updates and other information related to
VU’s plans related to the coronavirus.